Video has become a huge component of today’s social web experience. As such, it’s no surprise there are plenty of new start-ups on the scene (most notably Vyou, touted in the press a YouTube meets Facebook meets Quora) as well as sites like Mahalo that allow users to upload and share “how to” videos with each other.

Web users certainly love video  - today seven in 10 adult Internet users watch videos, and 50 percent report watching humorous videos, up from 31 percent in 2007. Viewing educational videos jumped from 22 percent to 38 percent.

Video is the future, and as the Web’s sixth biggest property, we see a ton of users engaging with video on our results pages – in fact approximately 1 million clicks a month go to YouTube URLs today. As a Q&A site we see a fairly high amount of “how-to” like questions just begging to be answered visually, especially in categories like art, science, cooking and exercise.

So, in the next few weeks, Ask will take the first steps in making video a more vibrant part of our Q&A community with the integration of the YouTube API. That means, later this summer, when a user answers a question and includes a YouTube link, the can see the full thumbnail and metadata information, as well as play the video within the page, similar to how Facebook does. Our own Dave Amato shared the details with WebProNews today. Also, check out the screenshot below.

A small step, but a significant one as we use this as a springboard for uncovering more ways to create a shareable video experience on Ask.com. For example, the API makes it easier for us to feature and scale videos across our algorithmic responses and Answer Products, such as Smart Answers. And it’s the building block for even richer video integration, such as the potential for users to record and upload their own video answers to questions within the community.

This opens new doors for our Q&A partners as well.  Partners in our Branded Q&A beta program will be able to distribute existing video answers and content across our growing user community. Smart Answers will showcase video directly within the answer itself, enabling partners to present users with a more helpful and detailed response (for example, you can imagine how this Smart Answer could benefit from an integrated video component).

Would you like to interact with more video as part of your Q&A experience eon Ask.com? Let us know what you think!

Jonathan Chickneas, Senior Product Manager